Psychiatric disorders, including autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia, are extremely heritable complex genetic neurodevelopmental disorders. It is now possible to directly reprogram fibroblasts from psychiatric patients into human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) and subsequently differentiate these disorder-specific hiPSCs into neurons. This means that researchers can generate nearly limitless quantities of live human neurons with genetic backgrounds that are known to result in psychiatric disorders, without knowing which genes are interacting to produce the disease state in each patient. With these new human-cell-based models, scientists can investigate the precise cell types that are affected in these disorders and elucidate the cellular and molecular defects that contribute to disease initiation and progression. Here, we present a short review of experiments using hiPSCs and other sophisticated in vitro approaches to study the pathways underlying psychiatric disorders.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0), which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium provided that the original work is properly cited and all further distributions of the work or adaptation are subject to the same Creative Commons License terms